Jazz vs Thunder

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Oklahoma City held a 3-1 advantage this season, with each of the four games being played before Christmas. The teams have not met since December 23, well before Utah’s 29-6 close to the regular season.Overall, the Jazz are 12-27 vs. the Thunder since that franchise moved to Oklahoma City from Seattle in 2009. The Jazz went 66-79 against the Seattle Supersonics.The franchises have not met in the playoffs since 2000, when the Jazz beat the Sonics 3-2 inRound 1.Key Matchups
Ricky Rubio vs. Russell WestbrookAny conversation about this series has to start with reigning MVP Russell Westbrook, who averaged a triple-double—25.4 points, 10.1 rebounds, 10.3 assists—for the second straight season. Westbrook, who had the third-highest usage rate in the NBA (after Houston’s James Harden and Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid), controls OKC’s offense, and he’ll most likely be guarded by the duo of Ricky Rubio and Royce O’Neale.Rubio, who’s making his first career playoff appearance, set career highs in points, 3-pointers, FG% and usage rate in his first season with the Jazz. Since the All-Star break, he has averaged 15.0 points, 5.3 rebounds, 5.6 assists, 1.7 steals and 1.6 3-pointers—all while shooting 43.6 percent from the field and 87.5 percent from the line.Rudy Gobert vs. Steven AdamsRudy Gobert, who was named Second Team All-NBA last season, is the frontrunner for Defensive Player of the Year, and for good reason—he had the best defensive rating of any qualifying player (97.7) this season. OKC’s Steven Adams, though, just happens to be a one of the most rugged and physical centers in the league.

Their contrasting styles as they battle to set the tone in the post will be something to watch closely.Oklahoma City won their last game against the Utah Jazz, 116 – 108; George: 36 pts, eight 3s; Westbrook: 29 pts. Paul George scored a team-high, thirty-six points, during their last game against the Jazz. He made 13 of his 20 attempts from the field, for a 65.0% field goal percentage (2/2 from the line, 8/11 from three-point range). In 37 minutes, George collected thirty-six points, seven rebounds, one steal and eight threes with 4 turnovers.Donovan Mitchell led the Jazz in scoring against their last opponent, the Thunder. He contributed with twenty-seven points, three assists, ten rebounds, two steals, one block and three threes with 1 turnover in 34 minutes. Mitchell shot 11 for 22 in the game, hitting 50.0% of his attempts from the field (2/2 from the line, 3/7 from three-point range).Get a 50% bonus up to $1,000 when you join MyBookie with Promo Code:HeroSportsREGULARSEASONSTRENGTHS& WEAKNESSES
The Thunder have climbed the rankings this season in steals per game (#1), offensive rebounds per game (#1) and blocks per game (#11). They struggle in free throw percentage (#29), assists per game (#28) and defensive rebounds per game (#26).The Jazz have climbed the rankings this season in steals per game (#4), blocks per game (#9) and free throw percentage (#10). Their weakest areas are offensive rebounds per game (#23), assists per game (#21) and turnovers per game (#20).The first game between the Jazz and Thunder went about how we expected — it was a physical battle highlighted by incredible performances from stars Paul George, Russell Westbrook and Donovan Mitchell. OKC took Game 1, but you can tell this is going to be a great series.The Jazz and the Thunder are an interesting first-round matchup, in the sense that most series have a clear underdog. However, this series is anything but clear. Although the Thunder may have more “stars” on their roster, the Jazz are fielding a scorching-hot team with Mitchell leading the way, winning 17 of their last 21 games to take the No. 5 seed.With that being said, the Thunder took what everyone thought was a piecemeal roster and made it into the No. 4 seed. Sure the Westbrook-Anthony-George system took some lumps, but the Thunder persevered this season to make themselves look like a threatening — if flawed — presence. Russell Westbrook is still clearly the leader, but the Thunder still got over 20 points per game for Paul George and 15 from Carmelo Anthony.Here is everything you need to know about what may be the most intense first-round series:

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